2 Novel approaches to training, 3 Flyover U, and 1 Pivot
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” -- Benjamin Franklin
Employee training via role-playing
Photo by Mathias Rosenthal for Shutterstock
Welcome to the learning power of role-playing simulation. Consulting firm Pendaran, located near Ann Arbor, MI, helps employees “retrain in systems thinking,” providing hands-on experience that lets them develop an understanding of how their decisions affect the company and its workflow as a whole. Based on MIT’s Beer Game, the program immerses participants in accelerated, high-pressure scenarios that let them gain “risk-free” problem-solving practice.
Pendaran says that the traditional method of training—such as reading books and sitting through lectures—hasn’t been successful, and that experience is the key. According to Pendaran VP and co-founder Carol Michaelides, “People must see the system to understand its components and be effective…. Failures happen because of an inability to work as a company, not because of a product.”
Name that tune!
And speaking of employee training...
A growing pool of research shows music's effects on the brain go even deeper than mood--it has been proven to increase cognitive abilities.
This is something Mike Benn is betting a business on. Benn, the founder of Songboarding, won this year's “What’s the Big Idea 48-Hour Pitch Competition” run by The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) for The Development Corporation of Knox County.
In the competition, budding entrepreneurs compete for up to $10,000 in reimbursable expenses related to the launch of their companies. Benn's Songboarding is a subscription-based service that meets the need for workplace safety and compliance training by setting it to music. The training helps reduce risk of injuries as well as prepares workers in the event of injury or a hazardous event.
Benn says that learning with music increases retention rates, makes training fun, and offer a paperless, database-driven platform.
See Songboarding in action here and enjoy your day-long ear-worm!
FLYOVER U RESEARCH
Whiteboard2Boardroom advances innovation for tech startups
Dr. ZhiQiang Chen had hatched an idea at the University of Missouri-Kansas City that could bring a certain level of autonomy to drones: He would use high-speed imaging to eliminate the need for someone to manually control them, yet still provide all the benefits that farmers, transportation workers, and other users need from them.
His challenge? Finding the right entrepreneurs to make his idea a reality.
That's where Whiteboard2Boardroom entered the picture.
The program is a collaborative effort of 22 research institutions, hospitals, and corporations across Kansas and Missouri designed to connect entrepreneurs and businesses with technologies for licensing and commercialization. Already, the effort has worked on projects in industries ranging from agricultural sciences, animal health, and veterinary medicine to materials engineering, manufacturing, and environmental technologies.
In the case of Chen, he was introduced to tech entrepreneur P.J. Piper, who had come to Kansas City searching for innovative technologies to take to market. Together, they molded Chen's idea into Aware Vehicles, which has since obtained funding from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Transportation and was recently chosen by Black & Veatch and LaunchKC for their accelerator program focusing on sustainability.
Now, Chen has the support and financial backing to turn what was once just an idea into a legitimate business, and Piper has the chance to take that business from a mere startup to profitability.
Purdue announces the latest members of its Innovators Hall of Fame
The Purdue Research Foundation’s Office of Technology Commercialization has announced this year’s inductees into its fifth annual Innovators Hall of Fame. The program recognizes scientists and researchers whose work has had a “positive impact on global society.”
According to a Purdue press release, the inductees work in a wide range of fields, including drug discovery, energy, food security, space exploration, cybersecurity, health, Internet of Things, spectrometry, biomedical devices, and industrial systems.
The program was created in 2013 and has recognized 137 innovators so far.
Brooke Beier, vice president of the Office of Technology Commercialization, said the program offers an opportunity to spotlight the contributions of Purdue’s outstanding scientists and researchers.
“The Innovator Hall of Fame program is one way we can recognize their hard work and dedication to help others through the commercialization and applications of their innovations.”
UW-Madison scientists are developing a new drug delivery strategy
Biopharmaceutical company Dianomi Therapeutics, a spinoff from UW-Madison research, is advancing its development of drugs that use mineral-coated microparticles that “mimic properties in bones and teeth.” The concept is based partly on archeological research that found proteins in fossils remained more stable (in some cases, for centuries) if they were associated with calcium-based minerals.
Dianomi’s mineral coated microparticle (MCM) technology was patented by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), which is the university’s technology transfer office.
Dianomi is centered on research from the lab of UW-Madison biomedical engineering professor Bill Murphy, who is a company co-founder and its chief scientific officer. He’s encouraged by the tech’s potential versatility. “This technology can be used to deliver virtually any protein drug—to treat everything from arthritis to neurodegenerative disease, and also new drugs to treat tumors, osteoarthritis, all different kind of conditions.”
Advanced materials startup changes direction
Advanced materials startup Veelo Technologies has followed a winding path in its 10-year history. It began as a nanomaterials company, but its carbon nanotube (CNT) fiber didn’t meet the requirements of its potential customers—which included the US Airforce and Boeing. So the company took its manufacturing expertise in a different direction.
CEO Joe Sprengard says the current focus is on producing “electrically conductive materials and non-metallic heating solutions” to improve the performance of aircraft, rotorcraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, satellites, and missiles. The company has built a successful product portfolio that serves the defense and aerospace industries—things like lightning strike protection (LSP), electromagnetic shielding, and non-metallic electrothermal de-icing systems.
Veelo continues to develop new materials and technology—and it continues to grow. In Q2 2019, it moved into a new manufacturing facility in the Cincinnati suburb of Woodlawn (conveniently located near GE Aviation’s headquarters and an hour south of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) to accommodate increased production, and it has added 20 employees. To top it off, the company was recently awarded a $2.9 million federal contract to accelerate production of Veelo VEIL, “an ultra-lightweight, electrically conductive non-woven material for composite aerospace and defense assets.”
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